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Monday April 2, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

3 died in a single incident in Switzerland, a mountain doctor was caught in an avalanche near Chamonix in France and two men have perished in Scandinavia. UPDATED


They were a group of Spanish ski tourers and the accident happened on Saturday afternoon.  

The victims were  two men one aged 37-years old and the other 48  plus a 38-year old woman.

Earlier in the day they had left the Knokordia mountain hut and were heading to the Fiescheralp area.  

The accident happened at 16.45 at an altitude of 2,480m on a north facing slope. 

The avalanche risk at the time was 'considerable' at Level 3.

The rescue operation was hampered by poor weather.  

Three people were pronounced dead at the scene and the other two have minor injuries.  

The bodies could not be recovered until Sunday due to the weather.  

All were equipped with safety equipment including avalanche transceivers.  

An investigation is underway. 

Avalanche accident sceneAvalanche accident scene


It brings the avalanche death toll in Switzerland this winter to 23 with 1 person missing, presumed dead.  

The worst incident was last month when three people died near Verbier in the Vallon d'Arbi and a 57-year old Swiss national remains unaccounted for.

Avalanche Vallon d'Arbi - 16 March 2018Avalanche Vallon d'Arbi - 16 March 2018 (photo: Cantonale Police)
















The conditions in the Swiss Alps are dangerous at the moment with the likelihood of avalanches put at 'considerable' in large areas - Level 3 risk.

Swiss avalanche risk, Monday 2nd AprilSwiss avalanche risk, Monday 2nd April

The authorities in the Valais canton are urging caution.

"The exceptional weather conditions at the beginning of this year meant that the avalanche danger in the Alpine region is still high.  For those who are not accompanied by a mountain guide, special care is required," said the police and rescue organisation in a joint statement.

"The last snowfalls in combination with the wind conditions have above all above 2'000 m. above sea level. M. led to an increased avalanche danger. 

"This precarious situation is likely to worsen due to the announced rainfall.  

"In this context, all those who wish to undertake a ski tour or prepare for the next edition of the Glacier's patrol are required to keep up with the rapidly changing weather conditions (ie the visibility, wind and temperature conditions), the crevasses and the remaining hazards in the mountains to keep an eye on.  

"We also point out that the timely return from the ski tour must be taken into account when planning the route."


In France a doctor renowned for treating injured mountaineers has died in an avalanche near Chamonix.

Dr Emmanuel Cauchy was in a group tackling the Aiguilles Rouges.  He was an accomplished and highly experienced skier.

He was a well-known figure in the French mountaineering community.

He was an expert in treating frostbite and founded a rescue training institute, IFREMMONT.

He wrote several books on mountain rescue and wrote newspaper articles under the penname of 'Doctor Vertical'.

Four other skiers, a woman and three men, were injured in the accident.

The Aiguilles Rouges is a well-known and popular route.

"The route on which the avalanche took place is known and frequented," said the Mayor of Chamonix, Eric Fournier, to local TV.

He called for extra caution and warned of the danger of the snowpack.

The avalanche risk at the time was at Level 3.

Two Frenchwomen died in the Savoie area of France towards the end of last month while out ski touring.

Meanwhile in Norway a man in his 40s was killed when he was caught in an avalanche near Kleppstad at Vågan in Lofoten on Easter Sunday afternoon.

He was out skiing with a friend who alerted the rescue services.

They were hampered be a fear of further slides.

He was found an hour after the accident.

Another group of skiers was caught in the Lofoten area, and all were rescued.

It followed recent heavy snow, high winds and fluctuating temperatures.

In the north of Norway roads have been closed for fear of avalanches, leaving some communities cut off. 


A Norwegian in his 60s was avalanched near Kebnekaise, Sweden's highest mountain.

A companion dug him out and alerted the rescue authorities who airlifted him to hospital.

He died from his injuries in hospital.

The avalanche risk at the time was 3.

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

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